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Drugs in pubs: embrace testing or lose your licence

By Robert Mann contact

- Last updated on GMT

Zero tolerance: drug's specialist detective sergeant Ian Broughton from the Metropolitan Police urges publicans to keep on top of drugs or risk losing their licences
Zero tolerance: drug's specialist detective sergeant Ian Broughton from the Metropolitan Police urges publicans to keep on top of drugs or risk losing their licences
The use of illegal substances in pubs is not a new problem, but it’s one that refuses to go away and one that continues to cause headaches for operators.

As most responsible operators will be aware, people using or dealing drugs in your pub can spell disaster and, detrimentally, damage your trade and reputation.

Serious problem

Drug’s specialist detective sergeant Ian Broughton from the Metropolitan Police’s Central Drugs team, gives an insight into the scale of the issue and how operators can empower their teams to mitigate and tackle the problem.

“Drugs in licensed venues is a serious and ongoing problem that is happening up and down the country,” Broughton exclaimed.

“They bring with them an enormous amount of risks including antisocial behaviour, possession, supplying, and in some cases, drug-related deaths.

“All these threats will lead to unwanted attention for your business and, ultimately, will put off clientele and you will lose your licence.”

Willingness to change

Broughton, who has spent almost 30 years of police service developing his understanding of the illicit drugs scene, said that licensees must show a willingness to keep drugs away from their venue.

“If you’re approached by a licensing officer who wants to test your premises, you need to respect that,” Broughton explained.

“And, if there is a problem with drugs on your premises, you need to show the willingness to change attitudes.

“You have to demonstrably show that you’re willing to work to tackle the problem, but, if you fail to do so, your venue will be taken to a review and the likelihood is you will have your licence revoked.”

Strict rules

Broughton reiterated that publicans who do not have a “strict policy” towards drugs in place should “prepare to fail”.

“In order to mitigate the risk, you need to prepare and if you feel that you don’t need to prepare, then prepare to fail,” he added.

“You need a strategy of how you’re going to stop drugs from coming into your premises.

“Understand what’s going on in your venue, refer back to speaking with your staff, engage and communicate with clarity, and most importantly, ensure your staff understand your drug policies and what you’re trying to achieve."

Broughton concluded that drugs cost the UK economy a staggering £13.7bn per year with 50% of all acquisitive crime across the country committed to fund drug use.

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